My name is Eleanor Taylor but I go by Ellie, I am 31 years old and in that time I have done many things, I have passed exams, learned to drive, gotten a degree in film and TV Screenwriting, but I am proudest of my family. My incredible husband is called Tom. He’s really had to commit to the whole “in sickness and in health” bit, and he has done so without complaint. He is the most loyal, and loving person I have ever known. I adore him. Between us we created two amazing kids. Olivia (age 5) and Isla (age 2). They are my world, I have heard the saying you can’t understand a mother’s love before you have children and thought it was tosh, until I had my children. I knew the second I looked at Olivia I would never be the same again.
But aside from them, I am a pretty fierce planner addict, I do love a good BuJo (if you don’t know what that means you need to visit this POST) and I LOVE making them look pretty, this year I am delving into the world of the happy planner and also the pro planner so expect more posts from me on the subject! Also I’ll post about my kids, sometimes products we’ve loved, sometimes just days out and I’ll even be doing some basic videos at some point now we have the go pro at hand. I think videos would be rather fun!
My husband is a keen allotmenteer and I am hoping when I am well enough to be able to plant some flower beds, although it’s looking much more likely my husband will have to plant most of them and I will just get to enjoy them!
Basically this is my space to splurge out whatever comes to mind and whatever feels good at the time.
But anyway, if you would like to find out what happened to me, and how I came to be diagnosed with cervical cancer then keep on reading below x
My Cervical Cancer Story
When I was diagnosed with my cancer, I was within a clear smear window. I hadn’t even reached the three years between smears before it was found while I was being induced into labour with my second daughter. At the time they believed it was a polyp, and at 8 weeks post delivery of my beautiful girl, a professor of obstetrics informed me I needed to go to colposcopy for a biopsy, believing it to be erosions of the cervix. This was in early October.
I want to make it clear, that until it was initially found, I never had any symptoms at all.
On December 19th of 2017 I attended colposcopy, where the gynaecologist informed me that I had cervical cancer. A tumour that was taking over the entire bottom half of my cervix was discovered. She took biopsies & I was sent for an MRI. I was informed at the age of 29 I would require what’s called a radical hysterectomy. This includes the removal of the cervix, top of the vaginal wall, womb and fallopian tubes as well as lymph nodes from the thigh. My diagnosing hospital had to refer me to a different hospital for the surgery itself.
On the 25th of January I underwent 8 hours of surgery, during which time they removed 28 lymph nodes, all of which tested negative for cancer cells. We then spent several weeks waiting for my post op check. I was given the all clear (All tissues removes aside from the tumour and lymphnodes clear) and put into recovery, to be checked on every 3-4 months for two years, 4-6 months for 3 years. This was the appointment in which we were finally able to determine my stage and grade of cancer at stage1b1 G3 SCC.
I didn’t make it to my first recovery appointment, I had to request to come in earlier for pelvic pains.
Upon examination at colposcopy they determined I had some normal granulation tissues, but the consultant sent me for an MRI – while assuring me she did not expect a recurrence of the cancer.
Unfortunately she was wrong, the MRI showed “Suspicious Tissue”. I was told that they were 99% certain it was the cancer, but they would be sending me for a PET scan and a biopsy under general anaesthetic. During the wait for the scan I had my first episode of acute pelvic pain, I was taken to hospital by ambulance treated with IV morphine and released, and this is where my relationship with opiate level painkillers began. I can remember saying to my husband that to me, this confirmed it, the cancer was back.
After some chasing I had my PET scan and we were told it could be up to 10 days for the results. My report was back within 24 hours. The PET scan was the that gave us the devastating news that not only had my cancer returned but had also spread to my stomach, and revealed I needed a stent in my right Urethra. My biopsy was for some reason cancelled, so far the only reason given was “not to waste time getting to treatment”, from this point on my cancer has never been discussed as a stage or grade, simply as “metastatic”. I suspect because of the lack of any further histology results to re-dertmine the situation.
After receiving the results of the scan, I was left to wait for a consultant appointment in my original diagnosing hospital as the hospital I was under for surgery and the PET scan, were discharging me as I was no longer a surgical patient. The consultant that gave me the results of the scan did not and could not give me a prognosis. So we spent two weeks not knowing what was going to happen, what the oncologist would say.
During that wait I was yet again admitted to hospital in agonising pain in my pelvis, I was seen by the clinical nurse specialist dealing in gynaecological cancers and she gave us a whole ton of Macmillan leaflets and no real answers as to what was going to happen next, aside from primary chemotherapy. But wasn’t it lucky I was admitted as now I could have my stent in as an inpatient which speeded up the wait by 2-4 weeks, and once it was in I could see the oncologist the following week and start chemo ASAP.
I had my first Chemotherapy in early July and unfortunately developed a fistula, a pathway that should not exist between my bowel and vagina. This was a huge shock and devastating as it required a delay in treatment. My options were to have a colostomy performed, or no further treatment.
So, on the 9th of August 2018 I had a loop colostomy, going in with the fear my wonderful surgeon may not be able to make it happen and I may have to have an ileostomy (small intestine) instead because of the scans I’d had and how it read on a 2d image. But, my operation ended up being far shorter and incredibly, easy. He had had no issue forming the colostomy for me. I was thrilled, this meant the scans didn’t hold all the answers, and that the cancer hadn’t attached itself to anywhere near as much of the bowel as anticipated.
I recommenced treatment on Friday 14th of September. Around two months after my first dose. We have agreed to sort of start over, I will be receiving 7 cycles of chemotherapy in total but six of them delivered three weeks apart. Each time I sit in the chair is a fresh cycle.
By the end of the recommencement of treatment, just before my second (but really third) cycle, I had noticed pain reduction. This is positive, this is our first indication that the treatment may well be working, and that hopefully, when I have my scan after the next cycle we might get some positive news.
My midpoint scan showed both tumours had responded to treatment and shrunk which was amazing news and really picked me up going into my final three cycles.
Cycle four (five over all) went without any real issues, we bumped along through it and dealt with it all ok. Cycle five (six overall), however did not come and go so easily. In fact, it was probably the hardest time of my treatment. I had an immune response to the treatment and spent 36 hours being plied with painkillers and sedatives to help me rest through it all.
The reaction to the chemo drugs put me into the hospice where I completed my final round of chemo. I had a reaction to that too and I was glad to be there. I was in the hospice for a total of three weeks and I found it to be such an incredible place with amazing staff, whom I shall never forget.
I had my final scan and didn’t get the results, instead I was asked to do another PET scan which took a fair while to come through but in March 2019 I was told that I was in remission, that there was no active cancer in my body.
Still, to ensure that we had gotten all the tiny little cells that may have been hiding away, I had 25 sessions of palliative radiotherapy. Since then I had clean scans in July and a clean bone scan in September of 2019.
That’s the story so far, I will be keeping this page updated with my story.